Workers Compensation Newsletters

Compensation for longshore, harbor, and maritime workers

The LHWCA provides medical benefits, compensation for lost wages, and rehabilitative services. Additionally, should an employee suffer a fatal injury, the LHWCA provides for survivor benefits and the payment of reasonable funeral expenses. Eligible survivors include not only spouses and children, but also siblings, parents, grandparents, and grandchildren. However, the existence of a widowed spouse and child would preclude the receipt of benefits by the other beneficiaries.

Notice of Injury

Generally, workers' compensation statutes contain a limitations period in which the injured employee must give notice of his injury. Under most circumstances, the notice is provided to the employer. The notice period itself is relatively small. Some statutes mandate that it be given as soon as possible while others provide for a fixed timeframe such as, for example, within a designated number of weeks or months following the injury. The required notice allows the employer to immediately provide the employee with medical care and allows for a more accurate and comprehensive investigation into the accident causing the employee's injury. If the employee does not give the mandated notice, his claim for benefits will be denied.

Res Judicata and Reopening of Social Security Decisions

The hallmark of res judicata is finality. Essentially, once a court has entered a final judgment conclusively establishing the rights of the parties on the merits of the dispute, such decision is final and will bar subsequent actions based on the same claim or cause of action. This rule of civil procedure has been adapted and applied to administrative actions, including social security decisions.

Resident Employees Who Are Not On-Call

The general rule is that employees who reside on the employer's premises are protected by workers' compensation coverage if they are required to reside on the premises and are on-call twenty-four hours per day or the injury resulted from a risk associated with the employee's living conditions given the requisite living arrangement. When the employee is not on-call and has specified work hours, though he is required to live on the employer's premises, gaining workers' compensation benefits for an injury off the employer's premises is somewhat difficult. When the resident employee is injured outside his work hours and off the employer's premises, he must show a strong causal link between the injury and his employment. This causation requirement is magnified and must be found more compelling than the showing required for on-call employees.

Traveling Employees

Generally, if an employee is required to travel as a part of his employment, he is covered by workers' compensation for the duration of the trip. There is a distinct exception to this rule when the employee markedly departs from the business trip to attend to a personal matter. In those jurisdictions following the majority rule for compensability above, an employee will usually be covered for an injury resulting from, for example, sleeping in a hotel or eating in a restaurant.